Dalvin Cook

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No. 23 Florida State blocks game-tying PAT to drop No. 10 Miami for seventh straight year

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In the storied history of kicking woes in the rivalry between Florida State and Miami, there should be room for one more. No. 23 Florida State (4-2, 1-2 ACC) blocked an extra point attempt by No. 10 Miami (4-1, 1-1 ACC) with 1:38 to play to hold on to a 20-19 lead. The Seminoles managed to run the clock out to win for the seventh straight time against Miami.

It was a wild swing of emotion as Miami fans thought for sure they had just tied the Seminoles following a beautiful pass on fourth and five by Brad Kaaya into the sure and steady hands of Stacy Coley. The touchdown was the first score of the second half for the Hurricanes, who had seen a 13-0 advantage morph into a 20-13 deficit in the second half. Just moments after the defense came up with a big stop and Miami got a fantastic punt return to setup shop inside the red zone, everything was slanted in favor of Miami. Until the PAT attempt played out.

Michael Badgley‘s PAT attempt was blocked and skirted left, leaving Miami down by one. With three timeouts to spare, it would be up to the Hurricanes to make one more stop on defense, but Florida State did not let that happen. Deondre Francois picked up a first down on a 10-yard run and Dalvin Cook added an 11-yard run on the ensuing possession to force Miami to use their final timeouts. Francois ended his night completing 20 of 34 pass attempts for 234 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Francois also was on the receiving end of a number of rough hits, one which sent him out of the game in the first half for a stretch. Cook rushed for 150 yards in the win as well.

Kaaya had the big touchdown pass toward the end, but Florida State did a good job of making sure he wasn’t on target for much of the evening. Kaaya completed 19 of 32 pass attempts for 214 yards and two scores, but was also intercepted once.

For Florida State, the win is the seventh in a row over Miami in the rivalry, dating back to 2010. Miami’s last win against Florida State came in 2009. Since Miami joined the ACC, Florida State is 10-3 against the Hurricanes. Prior to Miami joining the ACC, Miami had won five straight in the series as a member of the old Big East.

Late in the game, things got a little ugly, or trashy if you will. A controversial targeting penalty on Miami’s Jamal Carter led fans to litter the field with their garbage, causing a brief delay in the game.

Florida State snapped a two-game losing streak with the win, although it still remains unlikely Florida State makes a run for the ACC Atlantic Division. Florida State will return home next week to play Wake Forest (who is off to a 5-1 start). Miami will slip behind Virginia Tech in the ACC Coastal Division for now but they get a chance to change the outlook of the Coastal in the next few games. Miami hosts North Carolina next week and travels to Virginia Tech the following Thursday. Those will be two huge games for Miami.

No. 10 Louisville and Lamar Jackson KO No. 3 Florida State to shake up ACC (and playoff?) picture

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On a day that saw No. 10 Louisville host one of the biggest games in program history and honor the late Muhammad Ali, Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals floated like a butterfly and stung No. 3 Florida State (1-1) like a bee. Or perhaps a giant swarm of bees. It could have been called after one-half. Louisville blasted Florida State, 63-20, to lay claim to being the best team in the ACC this season after three weeks of play.

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson ran for 146 yards and four touchdowns and passed for 216 yards and another score in the win, continuing one of the most dominant starts college football has to offer. If the question was about what Jackson could do against a team that actually provides a defensive stat after piling up the stats in the first two weeks, then it is fair to say Jackson aced the exam. He should be expected to pile up some more big numbers next week against Marshall, as the Thundering Herd were seen giving up 55 points at home to Akron Saturday afternoon. Jackson’s top receiver, James Quick, led all players with 122 receiving yards, eight more than Florida State’s team combined for.

Louisville did a good job of keeping Dalvin Cook from being much of a factor. Florida State’s own Heisman-hopeful this season was limited to just 54 rushing yards on 16 attempts and one eight-yard reception. He did not score in this game. Freshman quarterback Deondre Francois showed he still has room to grow as well, completing seven of his 18 pass attempts with one touchdown, one interception and a fumble.

This was no fluke, like Apollo Creed being taken the distance by a scrappy Rocky Balboa. This was a rout from the start by a Louisville program that continues to grow and develop. The move to the ACC has been a great one for the entire athletics program, and Saturday’s decisive victory put the rest of the ACC on notice. Louisville is not messing around. After taking on Marshall next week, Louisville will prepare for their biggest road test of the season at Clemson. That game will provide a chance for the Cardinals to grab a firm hold of the ACC Atlantic Division or allow Florida State to stay alive before seeing the division slip away quickly.

And that’s the key for Florida State. There is still a really talented team in Tallahassee, and writing them off now would be unwise. Yes, this was the ugliest loss in Jimbo Fisher’s career, but next week offers a chance to bounce back. Florida State takes on USF in Tampa next week and then returns to ACC play against ACC Coastal competition with North Carolina and then Miami. This will be a key three-game set to see how the Seminoles respond after getting knocked around.

No. 4 Florida State goes on 33-0 run to take down No. 11 Ole Miss

AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser, File
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Orlando, Florida may be home to the happiest place on Earth, but No. 11 Ole Miss (0-1) is leaving town with nothing but disappointment. The Rebels blew a 22-point lead against No. 4 Florida State (1-0) in the Camping World Kickoff in Orlando. The Seminoles ripped off 33 straight points on their way to a 45-34 victory. It was the largest come-form-behind victory in Florida State history.

Freshman quarterback Deondre Francois went through some growing pains in his first start for Florida State at quarterback, but gained some confidence in leading a late touchdown drive in the first half and came out looking like a brand new player in the second. Francois passed for 420 yards and two touchdowns without an interception or a fumble (one fumble by Francois was overruled upon video review). He looked like a freshman starting his first game in the first half, because he was a freshman starting his first game in the first half. And he was going up against a solid Ole Miss defense, which crumbled in the second half as Florida State gobbled up a decisive edge in the time of possession department.

Ole Miss did have success running an up-tempo offense against Florida State early on, which played a part in building a 28-6 lead in the first half, but the wear and tear on the defense showed in the second half as Florida State looked like the fresher of the two teams. The Rebels saw Chad Kelly look confident and living up to the hype of being the best quarterback in the SEC with three touchdowns in the first half, but he also cooled off in the second half and was picked off three times in the game, the last coming with under three minutes remaining in the game to essentially put to rest any hope of a win for Ole Miss.

THREE QUICK THOUGHTS

1. You cannot turn the ball over against Florida State and expect to win. Ole Miss did so three times, with a trio of interceptions thrown by Kelly among them. Florida State is not going to dig holes too often this season the way they did Monday night, and there are only a small handful of offenses that will be able to hang with Florida State and have the potential to overcome a deficit in the turnover margin (Clemson, Louisville… Miami?).

2. One observation to take from Sunday night’s Texas-Notre Dame game is the Longhorns could be turning a corner but must still learn how to finish a game. Texas had a 17-point lead midway through the third quarter before seeing Notre Dame battle back and eventually get the game to overtime. Texas escaped with the win, but it was a lesson that could be learned in Austin. The same experience must be earned in Oxford. Ole Miss was in command of the game shortly before halftime, when Florida State scored a late touchdown to gain some momentum at the break. The Seminoles then went on a tear with a 24-0 run in the third quarter and a 33-0 run overall before the Rebels got back on the board, going from up 28-6 to down 39-34. Perhaps this can be an assessment of the coaching. Jimbo Fisher held a decisive edge while Hugh Freeze will have some questions that need answers.

3. Dalvin Cook turned in a fine effort, even if he did have the bonehead play of the game. Cook was mere yards away from reaching the end zone in the second quarter on a pass play but for some reason switched the position of the ball in his hands before he crossed the goal line, uncontested. The ball dribbled loose out of bounds and instead of a touchdown, Florida State was reduced to settling for a field goal. All was forgiven later, as Cook ended his night with 192 all-purpose yards, including 101 receiving yards.

Florida State opens its home schedule next week against Charleston Southern. The Buccaneers gave North Dakota State a solid test in the FCS opener two weekends ago and demolished Kentucky State at home this past weekend. As good as they may be in the FCS ranks (and they are really good), Florida State should manage to avoid any real threat of a massive upset in Tallahassee. Ole Miss also gets an FCS opponent next weekend at home when they host Wofford. Wofford opened its season with a 21-7 road victory at Tennessee Tech on Thursday night. After getting by Wofford, Ole Miss has two pivotal game sin SEC play at home against Alabama and Georgia. Then comes a revenge game against Memphis. Memphis upset the Rebels last season.

Chad Kelly tosses 3 TDs in first half as Ole Miss is powering by FSU

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Maybe Florida State spent a little too much time listening to Jimbo Fisher give his pregame speech. Or maybe they didn’t listen enough. Whatever the case, No. 4 Florida State has a lot to work on if they want to climb back and make a game of this with No. 11 Ole Miss in Orlando. The Rebels jumped out to a 21-3 lead on the Seminoles, and hold a 28-13 lead at the half.

First, let’s give Ole Miss the credit it deserves, because oh my did they ever come to play a good game tonight in Orlando. Despite losing starting defensive back Ken Webster to an awful leg injury early in the game, the defense has been swarming. On offense, Chad Kelly has been locked in with three touchdown passes and over 200 passing yards in the half. Kelly has also gotten involved with his legs and leads the Rebels on the ground after one half. Kelly has managed to get everybody involved by spreading the ball to six different receivers in the first half. Akeem Judd has the only rushing touchdown of the game so far.

Florida State’s offense has been silenced by the defense of Ole Miss. Dalvin Cook, arguably the top running back in the nation heading into the 2016 season, has been held to just 16 rushing yards on 10 rushing attempts. Ole Miss has focused on him and taken him out of the running game, which should have been a strength for the Seminoles. The offense also looks as though it is being run by a freshman, because, well, it is. Deondre Francois, a four-star dual-threat quarterback out of IMG Academy in the Class of 2015, has had some quick growing pains but has hung in there at times. They can’t all be like Jameis Winston right from the start, not even at Florida State. Francois did lead the offense down the field for a late touchdown just before halftime, and he took a hit in the process. Given the situation on the field, a late touchdown could be the momentum shift Florida State needed.

Earlier, just when it looked as though Florida State was finally going to reach the end zone for the first time, down 21-3, Heisman hopeful Cook inexplicably fumbled the football out of bounds. Florida State maintained possession and was kept out of the end zone by Ole Miss defense. They settled for a short field goal instead.

Kaelin Clay, who dropped a football before crossing the goal line for Utah against Oregon two years ago, chimed in with his commentary following that play.

You play four quarters of football for a reason. If Florida State is going to get back in this thing, the offense has to start making something, anything, happen. Ole Miss needs to keep the pedal to the metal and find a way to close this one out.

Dalvin Cook’s younger brother commits to Florida State’s Class of 2019

AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser, File
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Florida State running back Dalvin Cook is going to be one of the many star players to watch in college football this fall. Four years from now, it may be his younger brother, James Cook. The younger brother of Florida State’s Heisman hopeful has offered his verbal commitment to the Seminoles for the Class of 2019. Now that’s working ahead for Florida State.

Cook announced his commitment to Florid aState Friday morning on his Twitter account.

The Orlando Sentinel says the younger Cook is coming off an impressive freshman high school football season, in which he rushed for 709 yards and eight touchdowns on 99 carries. He also added six receptions and a touchdown to help Miami Central High school capture a fourth consecutive Class 6A state championship last fall. Dalvin played for the same high school program in addition to competing in track and field. Dalvin rushed for 1,940 yards and 24 touchdowns in his senior season, which led to him being named Mr. Football in Florida in 2013.

Being the younger brother of one of Florida State’s top players likely meant the Seminoles had both an inside track and a definitive edge in the recruiting process.